GOP Mayoral Candidate Distances Himself From Bernie Kerik

New York City mayoral contender Joe Lhota (R) told TPM on Tuesday that he hasn’t heard from his former colleague, Bernie Kerik, in years and has no plans to attend Kerik’s homecoming party from prison.

Lhota’s comments came after word that Kerik, the ex-NYPD Commissioner and bodyguard for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was released from federal prison on Tuesday after serving a little more than three years on charges of tax fraud and making false statements.

“First I’m hearing about it,” the Republican frontrunner said when asked about Kerik’s party, which is taking place at his home in New Jersey. “I haven’t spoken to him in three and a half years.”

Lhota also released the first television ad of his mayoral campaign on Tuesday. The commercial referenced Lhota’s experience working in the Giuliani administration in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Lhota and Kerik reportedly sat next to each other during Giuliani’s meetings in the wake of 9/11.

Kerik was imprisoned in 2010 after pleading guilty to multiple counts of tax fraud and obstruction relating to repairs made on his home during his time in City Hall by a company seeking licenses from the city. The allegations came to light when Kerik was being considered for a post as Secretary of Homeland Security in the Bush administration.